On October 6, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released the final rule for 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) and the final rule with comment period for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

The much anticipated final rule offers added simplicity and flexibility to providers still trying to achieve Meaningful Use goals.  “We eliminated unnecessary requirements, simplified and increased flexibility for those that remain, and focused on interoperability, information exchange, and patient engagement” stated Dr. Patrick Conway, deputy administrator for innovation and quality at CMS.

Providers are encouraged to apply for hardship exceptions if they had difficulty with or needed to switch their EHR vendor or experienced challenges due to the timing of the rules and EHR implementation.


For the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017, major provisions include:

  • A 90 day reporting period for all providers in 2015.
  • New participants to the program in 2016 and 2017 will also have a 90 day reporting period. Returning participants will report for a full calendar year.
  • 10 objectives for eligible professionals including one public health reporting objective, down from 20 total Stage 2 objectives.
  • Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) reporting for eligible professionals (EPs) remains as previously finalized.
  • CMS restructured the objectives and measures of the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 to align with Stage 3.
  • Modified “patient action” measures in Stage 2 objectives.


For Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs in 2017 and subsequent years, major provisions include:

  • 8 objectives for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs:  In Stage 3, more than 60 percent of the proposed measures require interoperability, up from 33 percent in Stage 2.
  • Public health reporting with flexible options for measure selection.
  • CQM reporting aligned with the CMS quality reporting programs.
  • Finalize the use of application program interfaces (APIs) that enable the development of new functionalities to build bridges across systems and provide increased data access. This will help patients have unprecedented access to their own health records, empowering individuals to make key health decisions.
  • Stage 3 requirements are optional in 2017. Providers who choose to begin Stage 3 in 2017 will have a 90 day reporting period.
  • All providers will be required to comply with Stage 3 requirements beginning in 2018 using EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition.


As part of the new regulations, CMS also announced an additional 60 day comment period to gather additional feedback about the final policies for Stage 3 and the EHR reporting period for Stage 3 in 2017 and subsequent years.  CMS plans to use the feedback to inform future policy developments for the EHR Incentive Programs, as well as consider it during rulemaking to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

For more detailed information click on the following link:



The last 90 day period to demonstrate Meaningful Use in 2015 is 10/3/2015 – 12/31/2015.  

Please contact your account manager with any questions or call the UCF REC at 407-309-4789 for all your Meaningful Use and other health information technology needs.